Child murders on the rise

1,714 murdered in 55 months

Mohiuddin Alamgir

The first seven months of the current year witnessed an unprecedented surge in child murders compared to the corresponding periods of two previous years.
Statistics of child rights group Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum shows that 191 children were murdered in the first seven months of the current year, up from 146 during the same period of 2014 and 128 in the corresponding period of 2013.
Over the last 55 months 1,714 children were murdered across the country, according to newspaper reports and child rights groups.
Child rights campaigners attributed the spate in child murders to family feuds, conflicts between individuals and groups, property disputes and kidnapping for ransom.
Gruesome murders of children over the last one month sent nationwide shockwaves, they said.
Rising concerns over child murders need to be seriously addressed by the government, said child rights campaigners.
They demanded enforcement of the law without any leniency to protect children from all sorts of violence and crimes.
Voicing concern over the situation, Child Rights Advocacy Forum leader Sultana Kamal blamed the country’s pervasive culture of impunity for the growing incidents of violence and murders of children.
The recent incidents of cruel murders of children reflected the condition they are in, said Sultana Kamal, who is also the executive director of the rights group, Ain o Salish Kendra.
She called for a social resistance against the unprecedented spate in crimes against the children.
UNICEF representative in Bangladesh Edouard Beigbeder described the recent incidents of violence against children including publicly beating them to death at some parts of the country as alarming.
‘UNICEF strongly believes that the Government of Bangladesh will do everything within its power to bring perpetrators to justice and help to end such violence against children,’ he said.
Women and children affairs ministry secretary Nasima Begum blamed sick and perverted mindsets of some for the growing incidents of child murders.
She said that the government adopted the policy ‘zero tolerance’ against child murders.
As such brutal activities of some perverts are not
acceptable all the perpetrators would be brought to justice, she said.
Child murders sharply increased in the country over the last three years, said Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum director, AS Mahmud and its programme officer Azmi Akter.
According to Manusher Jonno Foundation 232 children were murdered in the country in the first seven months of the current year, while the figure for the corresponding period of the previous year was 225.
MJF programme coordinator Abdulla Al Mamun said that the murder of 1,709 children from January 2011 to July this year meant that on an average one child became the victim of murder every day.
Abdulla Al Mamun and AS Mahmud said that they compiled the data from newspaper reports.
And at least five children became victims of murder in the first week of August, reported newspapers.
On August 5, Rabiul, 11, was brutally murdered with crowbar blows on his head in Barguna on the allegation that he had stolen a fishing cage.
On August 4, the body of a 10-year old unidentified boy was found in an abandoned suitcase on the Dhaka Medical College campus.
On the night of August 3, Mohammod Rakib, 12, died in Khulna after his former employer pumped air through his rectum for taking job at another car repair workshop.
On August 1, Moumi, 5 and Tayibar, 3, died following poisoning by their mother before she committed suicide in Barguna.
These killings occurred as the nation finds it hard to recover from the outrageous cold blooded murder of 13-year-old Samiul Alam Rajan in Sylhet on July 8.
The assailants mercilessly beat Rajan to death using metal rods, recorded the incident on video and posted on social media.
UNICEF’s child protection officer Shabnaaz Zahereen urged the government to deal child murders with iron hand and demanded stringent enforcement of the law to bring the offenders to book.
Dhaka University psychology professor Muhammad Kamal Uddin blamed lack of tolerance for the gruesome child murders.
Child murders leave a negative impact on other children who could develop fear psychosis and mistrust of others, he said.
Perpetrators of such heinous crimes are not listed criminals, said additional inspector general of police Nazrul Islam.
‘The police are keeping a watchful eye against child murders but we cannot provide security in every home and work place,’ he said.
He underlined the importance of raising social awareness for the prevention of child murders.

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